Monday, January 09, 2012

Detroit Free Press Comes Out Against Drug Testing

At least for those receiving government benefits, because, you know it would be discriminatory against the poor drug user.

The Detroit Free Press: Editorial: Drug-testing proposal discriminates against poor

he Department of Human Services, in a feasibility report ordered by the Legislature, recommended a pilot program that would require drug screening for pregnant women and low-income families receiving aid from the Family Independence Program. The state would compel those who fail the screening to take a drug test -- costing about $40 -- possibly at their own expense, and reimburse them if no evidence of drug use was found. Those testing positive, or even those who could not pay for the test, could be denied assistance......In the late 1990s, during a decade of welfare overhaul, Michigan started a pilot testing program in three counties, screening for PCP, marijuana, cocaine, opiates and amphetamines. Only about one in 10 of the applicants tested positive..........Finally, kicking people off cash assistance does nothing to help them kick a drug addiction or prepare for the workforce. If legislators approve any kind of drug testing program, they should tie it to drug treatment services rather than ending assistance.

To be sure, many private employers require drug tests of prospective employees. But private employers do not make up a monopoly, as do governments delivering entitlements.

Compulsory drug tests too often deter people from pursuing the benefits, and help, they and their children need. Legislators ought to steer clear of them, especially when those programs aim to punish more than cure.

Apparently the Freep Editors have no issue with 10% of welfare recipients being users of illegal drugs. The Freep sees it as no big deal that 1 in 10 of those tested were in fact using illegal drugs. If the results are possible to extrapolate to the welfare recipient population as a whole, then 1 in 10 of them are using government funds for illegal purposes. That IS a problem.

Never-mind that drug use is likely one of the reasons the person may be on government assistance in the first place, as a drug habit that interferes with their ability to work and have a productive life.

There's certainly valid reasons to be for drug testing welfare recipients and having the public refuse to support the illegal habits of some and make as part of the bargain for receiving public assistance to comply with the law.

No comments: